During my career at the American Red Cross, Department of Transportation, and Department of Labor, innovation has been the primary catalyst driving positive change. By “innovation,” I’m referring to the ability to re-combine existing resources in new ways to produce concrete, measureable outcomes. This means transforming old ways of doing business that may no longer be relevant or rethinking baseline assumptions that may have become irrelevant. Innovation isn’t a slogan or catchphrase. It is a creative way to solve a problem. It must drive new approaches to providing improved support for America’s military caregivers. At the Foundation, we are always looking for innovative ideas that will uplift military families at a time – for many of them – when they need help the most- Senator Elizabeth Dole
Our objective is to spur targeted innovation by awarding Innovation Grants to leading nonprofit organizations with a track record of fulfilling unmet military family caregiver needs. These grants not only provide immediate relief to caregivers through high-performing nonprofits, they encourage other organizations to improve their impact. This approach successfully leverages existing resources within the nonprofit community.
- We are proud to announce that Charity Navigator has recognized each of our three Innovation Grant recipients as 4-star organizations, the highest rating possible.
- National Military Family Association (NMFA)
- The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
- Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
- Senator Dole expressed enthusiasm saying, “These exceptional organizations are offering innovative approaches to the enormous daily challenges facing military caregivers, a community that deserves not only our support, but our immense admiration.”
Igniting Innovation through Technology
Military caregivers are forced to search for information across dozens of websites and programs, which feature conflicting and confusing information. Left to determine for themselves what is best for their warrior and family, they are burdened with this additional challenge at a time when they need to be focused on their gravely wounded loved one. Caregivers need a way to better share information, exchange best practices, connect with their peers, and find resources. We are in discussions with various partners about how to solve this problem. We want to:
A) Ensure the products being developed by each of our 3 grant recipients are user-friendly and easily accessible to caregivers – some 1.1 million individuals who struggle daily to tend to wounded warriors’ needs, while also trying to navigate an overwhelming number of different online sites.
B) Raise awareness within the general public about the myriad challenges/needs facing the often underserved, unrecognized population of caregivers.